“Feeling overwhelmed? Here are 4,539 tips to overcome anxiety—and the 675th one you’ll have to read to believe!”
Many of us are addicted to hacks: efficiency hacks, presentation hacks, productivity hacks, life hacks.
The list goes on.
They lure us in with promises of saving time, building better habits, and retiring early by working less.
But author and designer Paul Jarvis writes
that many of these so-called hacks are just distractions
As Jarvis puts it: “While small wins can certainly be had from optimizing our lives with the help of tips we read online, how many of us are literally working 4-hour work weeks, while simultaneously learning how to overcome every fear we’ve got, and unlocking ultimate happiness?”
And the problem is worse than that.
All these hacks aren’t simply distracting—they’re also a crutch.
“These hacks circumvent our own innate intelligence in favour of letting some expert who has a way with words have all the power to lead us. Those words could lead us not only around in circles that seem like progress, but they could potentially lead us to doing something in a way that just doesn’t work for how to process information.”
For example, there’s often more than one way to boost efficiency.
Maybe you work best at night—despite what experts say about “morning people” being more productive. Or maybe your path to happiness can’t be backed by science.
Maybe the reason you’re anxious is that your inbox is filled with too many unread life hack listicles.
You already have all the tools you need to start doing what you want to do.
For Jarvis the only thing stopping you is your assumption that what you already know isn’t enough.
“So, next time you see an article on life hackery or some list of actions you could be taking if you weren’t reading a list on taking action – ask yourself why you’re searching externally for advice/shortcuts when you could be working on taking action, in your own way, using your own brilliant mind to figure things out.”